Here are some quick-hitting thoughts on the College Football Playoff selection.
#1 Michigan: Personally, I don’t necessarily believe Michigan is the best team in the country. I think there are a couple teams that would defeat Michigan 51% or more of the time. That doesn’t mean Michigan can’t win the national championship. It just means things will have to fall their way and/or they’ll have to play up to their potential. But they had to be the choice for #1, because they have shown both a consistent offense and a consistent defense, along with solid special teams. Washington’s defense has not been great, and both Texas and Alabama have had losses. Unfortunately, I think Alabama is one of the teams that I would choose to defeat Michigan at this point, and I would have had Georgia ahead of them, too. This is a tough matchup for the Wolverines.
#2 Washington: Washington has a questionable defense, but their offense has been explosive for most of the year. They average 7.23 yards/play and QB Michael Penix, who used to play at Indiana, has thrown for 4,218 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 9 interceptions this year. And RB Dillon Johnson has run for 1,113 yards and 14 touchdowns. Despite some struggles, winning the games is what matters, and they did that 13 times with zero losses. Their last four games have been one-score wins, including one against a 5-7 Washington State team.
#3 Texas: Texas has an all-around good football program with former 5-star QB Quinn Ewers at the helm. They also have two former Michigan commits in star WR Xavier Worthy and DE Ethan Burke, the latter of whom leads the squad with 5.5 sacks. Their one loss came against Oklahoma, and it was a 34-30 game. Oklahoma finished 10-2 and is ranked #12. The big win was against Alabama early in the season, a 34-24 victory when the Tide were trying to figure out their QB situation. Head coach Steve Sarkisian struggled in stints at Washington and USC, but he’s a coach who worked with Nick Saban as a coordinator, which somehow propelled him to success at Texas. Sometimes spending a bit of time around Saban works magic for some guys, like it did with Jim McElwain, Kirby Smart, Lane Kiffin, and others.
#4 Alabama: First of all, Alabama shouldn’t be in the CFP because they had a loss to Texas. Florida State went 13-0 in a Power Five conference and absolutely should have been the CFP committee’s choice. The Seminoles should be #3 and Texas should be #4. Yes, Florida State QB Jordan Travis broke his leg and is out for the season, but the Seminoles continued to win without him. Winning the games should matter more than a popularity contest. But the CFP knows that a lot of people watch SEC football, and they don’t want to piss off a moneymaking conference. It’s a travesty that those players and coaches have to watch the CFP from afar. That being said . . . I would pick Alabama to beat Michigan, which sucks for the Wolverines. Michigan’s offensive line has struggled this season, and its best lineman, Zak Zinter, is out for the year with a broken leg. Meanwhile, Alabama QB Jalen Milroe (10.4 yards/attempt, 23 passing TDs, 6 INTs, 12 rushing TDs) has taken a giant step forward since the beginning of the year. He can run and throw and presents a lot of issues for Michigan’s defense. I’ll be doing my research and watching more film over the next few weeks, but I do think ‘Bama would beat Michigan more times than not.
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